'I'm not angry' says fire-hit club's owner

This Is Wiltshire: Peter Rogers, the owner of the Dream Lounge in Victoria Road, surveys the damage to the club after the fire Peter Rogers, the owner of the Dream Lounge in Victoria Road, surveys the damage to the club after the fire

THE owner of the Dream Lounge, which was consumed in a blaze after Faisal Qaddus drove a car into the building in July last year, has said he is not angry at the man who destroyed his business.

Peter Rogers saw his club on Victoria Road go up in smoke after Qaddus, 27, reversed a black Honda into the entrance.

Refurbishment work is underway and a relaunch is planned within the next few months.

Qaddus admitted damaging property being reckless as to whether life was endangered, but denied intent to endanger life. He returns to court for sentencing on 17 January following a psychiatric report.

Peter said: “I am not angry at him. I would just like to sit down with him and ask him why he did it. I do not know him and he does not know me. It seems like we are never going to find out what was going through his head.”

Peter is in Spain and will not attend the sentencing.

He said: “He was aware of his actions, because it was premeditated. The fact the apartment next to the club had people living above it in flats would mean if the fire had spread, people’s lives would have been in danger. The fact he ran away from the scene would make him culpable for his actions.

“He realised what he had done was wrong. He has to serve the minimum term, which I believe is 10 years. I do not want to do him any ill harm but I want him to suffer the consequences of his actions, which is a custodial sentence.”

The refit of the club is due to cost around £250,000, with money recouped from insurance.

Peter said: “We are looking at six months without trading so far, so that is 10 months altogether by the time we reopen. We are still paying wages to management, so this has been a big hit.

“When the club burnt down we were doing very well. It was a friendly place to work and it was a lovely atmosphere. We hope we can replicate that when we reopen. We will be putting events on for the ladies as well, including pole dancing lessons and hen parties.

“We are looking to reopen by the end of April. Everything downstairs has had to be stripped out, and the ceilings and walls have had to be replaced. There was a lot of damage in there. We have done some alterations to the layout of the building, opening it up more and moving the bar.

“Because we have got a blank canvas we have decided to make some changes. We have got a lot of ideas we want to put in place, so this seemed like a good opportunity to do it. There is a silver lining here somewhere, but we would have preferred for this not to have happened of course.

“It will be keeping its name, but the logo will be changing because we will be exploiting the fire. The name will be the same, but the logo will be a woman made up of flames.”

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